Bleeding Blisters & Opium
Eighteenth Century Whitehaven was devastated by outbreaks of contagious fevers and epidemics of the most feared disease of all, smallpox.
Joshua Dixon devoted his life to the care of the sick poor of the town and to preventing the spread of infectious disease.
Dixon’s strategies included the explosion of gunpowder, the application of vinegar to the floors of houses and purification of the air with the aromas of camphor, myrrh and crushed fresh juniper berries.Remedies for fevers included liberal quantities of wine and the newly available cinchona bark from South America, containing quinine. Dangerous practices, such as visiting the sick were discouraged. ‘Persons apparently dead from drowning’ were revived using the sinister looking Fumigating Apparatus.